Selby Gets Off The Mark At BetVictor Northern Ireland Open

Carter Thrilled By Crucible Return

Ali carterAli Carter secured his 14th consecutive appearance at the Crucible with a 10-6 defeat of Dominic Dale in the final qualifying round of the Betfred World Championship.

Carter has fought cancer and Crohn’s disease in recent years but has never lost his dedication to snooker and has kept his ever-present record at the Crucible going, having made his debut in 2003.

The Chelmsford cueman built an 8-1 lead in the first session with a top break of 101. Dale fought back to 8-6 before Carter took the next two frames to secure his place in tomorrow’s draw.

“At 8-5 it started to get a bit twitchy,” said Carter, who was runner-up in 2008 and 2012. “I had to be patient and wait for a chance. But overall I played some good stuff. I feel as if I am having to qualify through no fault of my own and I have had three tough matches.

“I don’t think there will be many players who want to draw me. To be back at the Crucible considering the battles I have been through means the world to me.”

Former World Champions Graeme Dott and Peter Ebdon both made sure of their Crucible spots.

Dott beat Mike Dunn 10-7 with a top break of 90 to become the fifth Scot in the draw, alongside John Higgins, Stephen Maguire, Alan McManus and Anthony McGill.

“There wasn’t much in it, I was lucky to win,” said Dott, the 2006 champion. “I love the longer matches and playing at the Crucible because there is so much pressure.”

Ebdon, the 2002 winner, saw off Ian Burns 10-2 with a top run of 79, securing his 23rd visit to the final stages.

“This has turned around a very disappointing season for me,” said Ebdon. “It means so much to be back at the Crucible. I missed out the last two years and that was soul destroying because it’s the zenith of our sport. It can be the greatest place in the world or the worst nightmare, and I’ve experienced both.”

Ken Doherty, the 1997 champion, led Ryan Day 5-3 but eventually lost 10-6.

Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson secured his place with a 10-6 defeat of Matthew Stevens, his top break 97. Wilson will now make his second Crucible appearance, having lost to Ricky Walden on his debut two years ago.

“I can’t wait to put in a better performance this time,” said Wilson. “It feels as if I was a boy two years ago and I have turned into a man since then.”

UK Championship runner-up Liang Wenbo beat Xiao Guodong 10-6 with a top break of 96, and in another Chinese derby, Zhang Anda saw off Zhou Yuelong 10-7 with a top run of 113.

In the last match to finish, Michael Holt beat Mark King 10-8 in a tense finish. King got the two snookers he needed in the 18th frame and had a chance to clear, but missed a tricky final blue and Holt potted it to secure victory.

“It’s just relief to win because you want to get to the venue so much,” said Nottingham’s Holt. “To play at the Crucible is what we dreamed of as kids. I’ll get butterflies and I can’t wait. I hope I avoid people in form in the draw. People might say they don’t care who they draw, but they do – why would you want to play the best players?”